chapter  9
30 Pages

Pax Britannica: Domination and Decline c.1745–c.1945

For some two centuries there was an ‘Empire,that was ‘British’ and, for some minds, it was not possible to conceive of ‘Great Britain5 without think­ ing of ‘Greater Britain’. It was an enterprise on a truly world scale. Never before had a single country - its soldiers, sailors, traders, administrators, missionaries - extended its power and influence across the globe in such diverse contexts. The establishment and consolidation of this empire, par­ ticularly in the nineteenth century, was celebrated in propaganda and myth. The British, it seemed, were intrepid pioneers, establishing what they con­ ceived to be the virtues of their civilization in the most remote and unlikely places. The maps of empire, glowing red, reinforced that sense of possession and achievement. They still contrived to confirm the centrality of the islands off the coast of mainland Europe to the viability of the project empire.